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Press Release, Water Department

The City of San Diego Letterhead

February 28, 2001

CONTACT: Tedi Jackson
(619) 236-5848 or
Cell: (619) 666-7197
Pager: (619) 232-2237, ID#8379

Thieves May be Impersonating Water Utility Employees

SAN DIEGO - According to local law enforcement officials, a trio of thieves seeking to gain entrance into area residences may be impersonating water utility employees. In some of the instances, the suspects convinced residents that there had been a water main break in the area and that they had been sent out to check on the house's water system and then were allowed into the homes.

Usually, the resident is asked to tap on the kitchen or bathroom faucet with a utensil while the thieves spread out and supposedly check for problems in other parts of the house. In actuality, they are looking for money, jewelry, and other easily accessible items to steal. In most of the cases, the residents don't realize anything was stolen until after the suspects have left the premises. Typically, water utility personnel work exclusively on water systems outside of a private residence, unless specifically requested by a customer.

"What's really unusual with this current situation is that these crooks are taking extravagant measures to act out the part. Not only are they dressing in blue uniforms and carrying a clipboard and some sort of identification badge, but they are also renting American-made, official-looking vehicles," according to San Diego Police Detective Mike Rubio. These cases have begun to occur countywide. There was a case reported in El Cajon which is in the Helix Water District service area. Law enforcement officials are warning residents to be on the alert since these thieves could try this ploy again.

"We strongly recommend that if someone comes to your house and identifies himself as a Water Department employee that you thoroughly check their identification and ask them for a phone number to call to verify that they should be at your residence," said Mark Stone, Water Department Operations Division Deputy Director. "Also, our employees most often have an official City vehicle and we will usually make an appointment before coming to your home. If anything seems out of order please ask the employee for a phone number so you can check out their story."

If you have any questions about whether a person at your door is a City of San Diego Water Department employee, you can call the Department's emergency hotline at (619) 515-3525.

  • For more information from the San Diego Police Department contact:
    Sergeant John Ray, (619) 531-2388
  • For more information from the Helix Water District contact:
    Lynn Young (619) 667-6202, or Ted Salois (619) 667-6257
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